Our Research

Lower Respiratory Tract Infections Related to Prematurity


Prematurity is the largest single cause of death in children under five in the world, and lower respiratory tract infections (LRTI) are the top cause of hospitalization and mortality in premature infants.

Clinical tools to predict and prevent severe LRTI in premature pediatric patients are critically needed to allow early interventions to decrease the high morbidity and mortality in this patient group. Although imaging biomarkers of lung disease from computed tomography have been successfully used in adults, they entail heightened risks for children due to cumulative radiation and the need for sedation. Our goal is to address these gaps and improve clinical practice by developing an objective imaging biomarker framework to assess the risk of severe respiratory disease in premature babies using non-invasive low-radiation X-ray imaging.



The image processing pipeline developed by our lab integrates three novel technical components: a) automatic lung segmentation, b) obtrusive object removal in CXR, and c) severity quantification of lung pathology. These innovations enabled the development of a quantitative imaging software technology to quantify Lung Air trapping and Irregular opacities Radiological analyzer (LungAIR).


Our approach will enable better clinical management of diseases of prematurity leading to novel diagnostic strategies to improve treatment and outcomes for the highly vulnerable population of premature infants.



  • NIH R41 HL145669
  • NIH UL1TR000075
  • NIH KL2TR000076